The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Harold Raker

September 14, 2012

Harold Raker's column on high school football: Coach follows his passion, and sons

A lifelong passion for the sport and his love of young people prompted Selinsgrove businessman, and former Selinsgrove football player, Todd Benner, at age 44, to launch a second career of sorts.

Benner, owner of Selinsgrove Ford, played for former Selinsgrove coach Bill Scott from 1981 through 1983, and eventually followed his sons through the lower levels of the Selinsgrove program.

He coached eight years in the midget program and another year in junior high, before he got an unexpected opportunity.

Benner got a call last year from Selinsgrove coach Dave Hess, one of Benner's assistant coaches his senior year, asking him to join his high school staff. Benner accepted and has been the Seals' offensive coordinator the past two seasons.

Another added benefit is that Benner gets to continue to coach his son, Logan, a senior starter for the Seals, and eventually, his other son, freshman Garrett, who is playing junior varsity this year.

"Coaching has always been a major passion of mine and just being involved with the kids and getting involved with their lives, I didn't think I had a shot at this level because of working at Selinsgrove Ford and the time it takes to run a business," Benner said this week as the Seals prepare for their annual backyard rivalry game versus Shikellamy.

"Fortunately, the last couple of years, I have hired some guys who have stepped up and taken more of a major role here and make decisions which in turn affords me the chance to do what I wanted to do in life, and that's coach football.

And I am grateful that Dave Hess had the confidence in me to bring me on board,— he said.

Like many families involving a football coach and a football-playing son, the dinner conversation rarely strays far from pigskin talk, whether about high school or the family's favorite NFL team, the Green Bay Packers.

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